Feb 2, 2024 - News

Ohioans bet billions on sports in 2023

Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio Lottery Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's official: Ohio is full of sports nuts willing to put a lot of money on the line.

Why it matters: Ohioans have been doing that under the table for decades, but the first full year of legal sports betting shows our authentic appetite for action.

Eye-popping stats: We collectively bet nearly $7.7 billion on everything from Buckeyes games to tennis matches and even esports championships, per an Axios analysis of state gaming figures.

  • That's a whopping $878 for every Ohioan above the legal betting age of 21.
  • Sportsbooks raked in over $900 million in revenue, though they also offered hundreds of millions in "promotional" bets to entice new players.

The big picture: Ohio's 2023 betting total is the sixth highest out of 38 states with legal betting programs, according to PlayOhio, a website that reports on and promotes sports betting.

  • We're behind just New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Zoom in: Central Ohio now features sportsbooks inside Hollywood Casino Columbus, Eldorado Scioto Downs and next to Nationwide Arena, plus at dozens of lottery retailers and small businesses.

Yes, but: Online platforms dominate. Around 97% of all sports bets were placed via apps like FanDuel and DraftKings, amounting to $7.4 billion in digital wagers.

  • Another $221 million was bet inside casinos and other retail sportsbooks, while $13 million was bet using lottery kiosks.

Between the lines: Betting followed the sports calendar.

  • Wagers lagged during the quieter summer months, then picked back up again in September when pro and college football resumed.

The intrigue: The state collected $133 million in tax revenue from bets placed last year, enjoying a boost midway through the year when lawmakers doubled the tax rate on operators to 20%.

  • Most of the revenue (98%) funds K-12 education, with the rest supporting gambling addiction services.

What we're watching: How Ohio sports betting will fare in year two.

  • The initial marketing surge has waned, but most states actually see a small boost in the second year, with a player pool comfortably established, PlayOhio managing editor Steven Schult tells us.
  • Schult expects Ohio to crack the top five states in betting this year.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the legal betting age in Ohio is 21 (not 18), and that the amount Ohioans bet in a year amounted to $878 per person (not $832).

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